Monarchs top Falcons in Springfield, 5-2
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A complete team effort gave the Manchester Monarchs a 5-2 victory over the Springfield Falcons at MassMutual Center on Saturday night.
Manchester (41-17-2-6) leads the Atlantic Division with 90 points. Springfield (39-19-1-5) leads the Northeast Division with 84 points.
"Tonight's game was a big test against a good team," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "It was a convincing win. The team had plenty of jump and we executed our game plan. The guys battled hard to kill several penalties. There were key saves, lots of blocked shots, and timely goal scoring. It'd be great to carry over that effort on a nightly basis."
Center Linden Vey scored his 12th goal of the season at 4:54 of the middle frame. Vey carried the puck over the Falcons blueline at the center point before snapping a wrist shot from the slot. The puck soared past netminder Mike McKenna's glove and into the top left corner of the net. Right wing James Livingston and defenseman Andrew Campbell assisted on Vey's tally that brought the score to 3-1.
After a scoreless opening period, the teams combined for four goals in exactly four minutes to open the second stanza. The Monarchs started the scoring with center Hunter Bishop's fifth goal of the season at the 54-second mark of the second period. Center Nick Shore skated through the Falcons zone on a two-on-one with Bishop. Shore skated into the right face-off circle, carried the puck around a Falcons defenseman, and centered the puck to Bishop in the low slot. Bishop one-timed the puck past McKenna for a 1-0 lead. Right wing Sean Backman also assisted on the opening goal.
Defenseman Denny Urban tied the game at 1-1 with a power play goal at 3:36 of the second period. Cycling the puck, center Andrew Joudrey found Urban at the center point of the Monarchs zone. Urban snapped a wrist shot that bounced off Monarchs defenseman Brayden McNabb's back and beat goaltender J.F. Berube. Defenseman Tim Erixon assisted on the game-tying power play goal.
The Monarchs answered right back with right wing Brian O'Neill's team-leading 20th goal of the season. Backman sent the puck to center Jordan Weal who carried it down the right wing before firing a shot toward the net. O'Neill was positioned in front of the net for the deflection and go-ahead goal.
Weal brought the score to 4-1 after picking up his 17th tally of the season at 11:44 of the final stanza. Skating on the power play, Vey tied up the puck and a Falcons player along the boards at the right point. Vey slid the puck behind him to Weal who was open just outside the right face-off circle. As he carried the puck down the right wing and into the bottom of the circle, Weal wristed a shot five-hole on McKenna. O'Neill collected his second point of the night by assisting on the power play goal.
Left wing Dana Tyrell cut the Monarchs lead in half with his 13th goal of the season at 16:06 of the third period. Joudrey won the face-off in the right circle of the Monarchs zone. Joudrey sent the puck on net and Berube stopped it along the post with his stick. Berube left the puck for his defenseman, but Tyrell jammed at it and was able to chip it past the netminder.
O'Neill won a foot race with two Falcons players and as he fell to the ice, he swiped the puck into the empty net for his second goal of the night and 21st tally of the season at 18:17 of the final frame for a 5-2 final. Left wing Andy Andreoff assisted on the shorthanded, empty net goal.
Berube (24-15-2) earned his 24th win of the season, stopping 18-of-20 shots. McKenna (20-8-1) took his eighth loss of the season with 18 saves on 22 shots.
Manchester was 1-for-4 on the power play. Springfield went 1-for-8 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs set a new record for the fastest three goals in a game this season as Springfield defenseman Denny Urban, and Manchester's right wing Brian O'Neill and center Linden Vey each scored in a span of one minute and 18 seconds…O'Neill has scored five goals in his last three games, and eight tallies in his last six games…Vey's goal tonight was his first in a Monarchs uniform since February 15.
The Monarchs host the Hershey Bears in a 3:00 p.m. contest at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday, March 23.